The Qur’an: Grammatical Errors

Grammatical Errors in Qur’an…

Muslims believe that Allah revealed a book to each of Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus. “But the Book of the prophet Abraham was lost. The Books of David (the Psalms), Moses (the Torah), and Jesus (the Gospel) were changed.”

Muslims do believe that the Qur’an is a literary miracle and that it is unmatched among any other literature. It is not a human masterpiece but a divine miracle, where every letter and dot was revealed from heaven, with no difference between what was revealed and what we have in our hands. Muslims claim the Qur’an not just to be a human literary masterpiece, but a divine literary miracle. But this claim does not square with the facts. For the Qur’an which we have in our hands contains obvious grammatical errors which is plain to see for all who know Arabic.

The First Error
In 5:69
“Surely they that believe, and those of Jewry, and the Sabaeans, and the Christians, whosoever believes in God and the Last Day, and works righteousness – no fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow.” (Arberry)

“Innal-laziina ‘aamanuu wal-laziina haaduu was-Saabi’uuna wan-Nasaaraa man ‘aamana bilaahi wal-Yawmil-‘Aakhiri wa ‘amila saali-hanfalaa khaw-fun ‘alay-him wa laa hum yah-zanuun.”

There is a grammatical error in the above verse. The word Saabi’uuna has been declined wrongly. In two other verses, the same word, in exactly the same grammatical setting was declined correctly.

2:62 “Innal-laziina ‘aamanuu wal-laziina haaduu wan-Nasaaraa was-Saabi’iina

22:17 “Innal-laziina ‘aamanuu wal-laziina haaduu was-Saabi’iina wan-
Nasaaraa …”

You notice that the word was written Saabi’uuna in 5:69 and was written Saabi’iina in 2:62 and 22:17. In the last two verses the word was declined correctly because the word inna in the beginning of the sentence causes a form of declension called “nasb” (as in cases of accusative or subjunctive) and the “yeh” is the “sign of nasb”. But the word Saabi’uuna in 5:69 was given the ‘uu, waw which is the sign of “raf’a” (as in
cases of nominative or indicative). This then is an obvious grammatical error.

The Second Error

In 4:162

“But those of them that are firmly rooted in knowledge, and the believers believing in what has been sent down to thee, and what was sent down before thee, that perform the prayer and pay the alms, and those who believe in God and the Last Day – them We shall surely give a mighty wage.” (Arberry)

“Laakinir-Raasi-khuuna fil-‘ilmi minhum wal-Mu’-minuuna yu’-minuuna bimaaa ‘unzila ‘ilayka wa maaa ‘unzila min-qablika wal-muqiimiin as-Salaata wal mu’-tuunaz-Zakaata wal-Mu’-mi-nuuna billaahi wal-Yawmil-‘Aakhir: ‘ulaaa ‘ika sanu’-tii-him ‘ajran ‘aziimaa.”

The word muqiimiin should be muqiimuun. The word should be declined by the “raf’a sign” like the other nouns in the sentence. Indeed the two nouns before it (Raasikhuun and Mu’-minuun), and the noun after it (mu’-tuun) are declined correctly. Some have argued that this word was declined as such to distinguish and praise the act of praying, but the scholar Ibn al-Khatib says that this is a sick reasoning. (al-Furqan by Mohammad M. ‘abd al-Latif Ibn al-Katib, Dar al-Kutub al-‘elmiyah, Beirut, p.43).

Such reasoning defies logic. Why would one distinguishe prayer which is a branch of religion, and not faith which is the fundamental and root of religion? Besides can this logic apply to the error of declension in the previous verse? Do we conclude that the Saabi’iin are more distinguished than those who believe, and the People of the Book? And why do they get distinguished in one verse and not the other as we have seen? God is much higher than this sick logic. This again is an obvious grammatical error.

The Third Error

In 20:63

“They communed secretly saying, ‘These two men are sorcerers’.” (Arberry)

“Qaaluuu inna haazaani la-saahiraani …”

The word haazaani should be haazayn. The word haazaani was declined incorrectly because the word inna in the beginning of the nominal sentence causes a form of declension called “nasb” to the nominative and the “yeh” is the “sign of nasb”. This is the third grammatical error.

The Fourth Error

In 2:177

“It is not piety, that you turn your faces to the East and to the West. True piety is this: to believe in God, and the Last Day … to give of one’s substance … and to ransom the slave, to perform the prayer, to pay the alms. And they who fulfil their covenant … and endure with fortitude.” (Arberry)

“Laysal-birra ‘an-tuwalluu wujuuhakum qibalal-Mashriqi wal-Maghrib wa laakinnal-birra man ‘aamana billaahi wal-Yawmil-‘Akhiri wal-malaaa-‘ikati wal-Kitaabi wan-nabiyyiin: wa ‘aatal-maala ‘alaa hubbihii zawilqurbaa walyataamaa wal-masaakiina wabnas-sabiili was-saaa-‘iliina wa fir-riqaab: wa’aqaamas-Salaata wa ‘aataz-Zakaata; wal-muufuuna bi’ahdihim ‘izaa ‘aahaduu was-Saabiriina fil-ba’-saaa’i wazzarraaa-‘i …”

In the above verse there are five gramatical errors. In four of them the wrong tense was used, as the sentence begins in the present tense with the verb tuwalluu, while the other four verbs were written in the past tense:

‘aaman should be tu’minuu;
‘aata shoud be tu’tuu;
‘aqaama should be tuqimuu;
‘aata shoud be tu’tuu.

The above verse when translated into English as it appears in Arabic would be: “It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteousness is he who believed in Allah and the Last day and the angels and the Book and the Prophets; and gave his wealth, … and performed prayer and paid the alms.” But the English translators have observed the tense, and the verbs “believed”, “gave”, “performed”, and “paid” were corrected and written in the present tense. (For example see Arberry, Pickthall, Yusuf Ali and Rodwell’s translations).

The fifth error is the wrong declension of the word saabiriina. It should be declined saabiruuna like the preceeding word muufuuna.

This article is taken from, and is under a copyright of:-Copyright © 1996 by M. Rafiqul-Haqq and P. Newton.

11 thoughts on “The Qur’an: Grammatical Errors

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s